Police to issue warnings for shopping cart thefts

Nick Seebruch
Police to issue warnings for shopping cart thefts
Three abandoned shopping carts in the St. Lawrence River (Nick Seebruch/ TC Media).

CORNWALL, Ontario – Those who steal shopping carts could soon be faced with a warning from police and retailers might barr them from coming to their store all together.

The City has been conferring with local businesses over the past several months to find an acceptable solution for all parties.

“The retailers recognize that there is an issue but feel that it is theft and that it is a policing matter,” reads a report written by City Administration and presented to Council. “The police in turn have indicated that such issues are less urgent and that there are limited staff resources to enforce such theft and proof of culpability may be challenging.”

Together, the City and the local retailers formulated a five step plan to deal with the issue.

The City will be keeping tabs on where shopping carts are being abandoned in the City and provide those locations to retailers so they can collect them. Additionally, the City will be making a web page on their site where residents can report abandoned shopping carts.

For their part, retailers will be creating more signage in their stores and police will be providing warnings to offenders they see taking carts off of store properties.

The City will also be working with retailers to provide low cost personal grocery buggies to be sold in stores in hopes to deter people from taking carts.

In March, City of Cornwall Supervisor of Bylaw Enforcement, Christopher Rogers acknowledged that some took carts because it was their only option to get their groceries home.

“We know that poverty is part of the equation,” said Rogers. “To ignore this reality would be insensitive to those who are less fortunate in our community.”

City of Cornwall General Manager Mark Boileau has said that since they have started monitoring this issue, the numbers of shopping carts on the streets has declined. He stated that when they started there were 50 on the street, then 40 and now 30.

“Good to see retailers are taking an interest in this because until now it didn’t seem like it,” said Councillor Claude McIntosh.

McIntosh pointed out one case where there were 13 shopping carts outside of a motel on Second Street for weeks.

This however, is not a new problem. Councillor McIntosh remembered when a shopping cart appeared on his front lawn.

“Had a grocery cart on my front yard, called the retailer, they never came to get it,” he said, “That was 13 years ago. Its in my backyard. Ever try to get rid of a shopping cart? You can’t do it.”

All councillors who spoke on the issue applauded City Administration for the time and effort put into finding a solution acceptable for all parties.

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